It’s a different outlook for Steven Tyler as he pursues his own creative personal fulfillment.
In Steven Tyler: Out On A Limb, documentary filmmaker Casey Tebo follows the Aerosmith legend as he goes on nearly a solo act with his work and with Loving Mary Band. With tons of interviews and two live concerts, the documentary blends a positive personal perspective on Steven Tyler’s next phase of music life.
LRM interviewed director Casey Tebo over the phone earlier this month about his documentary. We talked about his long special relationship with Steven Tyler and his methods on capturing these important moments of his life.
Steven Tyler: Out On A Limb is out on VOD and Digital HD today.
Read our exclusive interview below.
LRM: I watched your concert documentary. I was thinking going that you must be one of the coolest guys on earth.
Casey Tebo: Tell my kids that. [Laughs]
LRM: How did you get your start into being coming a sorta like a concert documentarian?
Casey Tebo: It wasn’t that specifically. It was really more about that when I turned 30 and I wanted to pursue my dream of being a filmmaker. It’s just working my way up from doing smaller things from music videos to concert films. I did an indie film in 2016 called Happy Birthday. Just knowing Steven for so long and seeing him this happy, it inspired me to make this movie about him. It wasn’t really about specifically wanting to be a concert documentarian. It was an opportunity to tell a story. As a filmmaker, that’s what our responsibility is whether you’re trying to solve a crime or blow up a bunch of robots. I think it’s about entertaining people.
LRM: Where did you get the inkling of an idea of filming I’m Steven Tyler? I understand that you knew him for a while, but what would actually trigger that moment saying, “You know what? He will be a great subject.”
Casey Tebo: I’ve been working with Steven for a long time on and off. He’s a dear friend. I had just never seen him in this light. I have never seen him so happy, positive and sort of inspirational. I thought it was a good opportunity for me to show the world on who he really is and the guy that I’ve gotten to know. And to show him in the light of doing something outside of Aerosmith.
LRM: Could you tell me when was the first time that you actually met Steven Tyler? What was it for a music video?
Casey Tebo: It was 2004. I was given an opportunity to do a small supplemental DVD for Aerosmith and he came to check at the edit. It was just one of those things where in your life, you meet people that you get along with and you meet people that you don’t get along with. He and I just hit it off, but it’s been roses ever since.
LRM: How close are you really with Steven Tyler? Would you actually call yourself like close acquaintances, friends, best friends? Do you hang out all the time? What’s going on?
Casey Tebo: Yeah! Steven is a dear friend. He’s done a lot for me. He’s helped me out in times when I needed it. He was always there for me. He is almost like in a movie like my famous crazy uncle.
LRM: [Laughs] Now I noticed in the documentary that you also quoted there are certain haters, who were wishing you luck about Steven Tyler. Where is this basic idea of Steven Tyler is actually coming from with these people, who were basically warned you about him?
Casey Tebo: Yeah. You get it a lot. I did a show a maybe three or four years ago with Stevie Nicks. It was same thing. People saying, “Oh, she’s terrible. She’s going to yell at you. She just not a good person.” She was maybe one of the sweetest people I’ve ever met in my life. It’s the same thing with Steven. I just gotten a lot of warnings from people in the road crew and people that work for the band. He’s going to chew you up and spit you out. He’ll use you for what he needs. Now here we are–15 years later.
LRM: Is this some kind of misperception about rock stars?
Casey Tebo: No, because I’ve encountered some rock stars that were real assholes. So I think it’s the misconception about Steven.
LRM: Oh, absolutely. I’m also guessing. Yeah, you probably not going to name them either, but that’s alright. [Laughs]
Casey Tebo: No, no. People are people. There are women and men who work at banks and offices that are amazing people. There are people that work at banks and offices who are not amazing people. Look at this superintendent in New Jersey who pooped all over the football field. There are good people and bad people.
LRM: That is true. Now I love the fact that your documentary, the quality of the filming is quite spectacular. In fact, it’s a much better than a lot of films I actually watched. Is directing a documentary for a concert very much different from directing a indie film?
Casey Tebo: There’s a little bit more freedom sort of play with the story. When you’re making an independent film, you only have so many days to shoot it. There’s only so many pages of the script. When you get into the edit room, you have what you have to work with. But when you’re dealing with something like this, you interview everybody for half hour or 40 minutes, you can put up crop the stories. I don’t want to say easier, but it’s not as much pressure–that’s for sure.
LRM: Were there any subjects that you missed out on?
Casey Tebo: I have reached out to a couple of people like Lenny Kravitz and some others. We’ve got a couple of no’s because they were busy or traveling. At the end of the day, I’m extremely happy with the way the film came out so I don’t have any regrets.
LRM: When you’re actually directing a live show, it was quite impressive. Was this actually difficult to actually do, especially if it’s uncoordinated?
Casey Tebo: The thing about filming live shows that is advantageous is you have eight or nine cameras. Then you can go in afterwards and pick the best pieces. It’s a really fun way to do things.
LRM: What do you suppose is the most difficult thing you had to do on this project?
Casey Tebo: Most difficult and unexpected thing I had to deal with was a ridiculous amount of legal clearances that come with filming a documentary where you’re just shooting people on the street in background footage. Then these lawyers come in and tell you that you can’t use a picture from the Simpsons or there’s an image of Elvis in the background in some restaurant that you’re going to have to blur out. It’s ridiculous and laborious process. Considering the day and age we live in now, which is people filming anything and everything and putting it on YouTube. It seems kind of ridiculous that you have to go through that just to put a movie.
LRM: That definitely does seem so. Are you going to continue on basically filming these musical concerts or do you would like to go back into the film industry?
Casey Tebo: I’m getting ready to do another narrative movie, an action movie. I really want to do a bigger, bigger project. Chris Columbus, who I don’t want to call it mentor, but I became friends with Chris, who is one of the big directors of Hollywood. He did Harry Potter, Mrs. Doubtfire and Home Alone. Chris and I talked about doing something about the death of rock and roll and whether it’s over. That’s something I definitely would like to explore.
LRM: It seems like you know everybody. [Laughs]
Casey Tebo: Well, you have to.
LRM: One last question for you, if people actually do check out your concert documentary–what is the one lesson that you’re hoping that people would actually take out of this documentary?
Casey Tebo: It’s never too late to follow your dream it. Do something that you’ve been wanting to do, but just can’t seem to pull it together.
LRM: Excellent answer. Hey, thank you very much. I appreciate this interview. Thank you.
Casey Tebo: Thank you.
Steven Tyler: Out On A Limb is out on VOD and Digital HD today.
Source: LRM Online Exclusive